Welcome to the New Wine Country: Outstanding Wineries near Alexandria
You don’t have to be in Napa to enjoy the wine tour of a lifetime.
Virginia is an up-and-coming wine country that’s earned a place on several top lists–and a mention by an international wine judge in Bloomberg. Apparently, Thomas Jefferson attempted to tame the grape but failed. Fortunately, we kept trying. Now, Virginia’s 200+ vineyards are thriving, and top varietals are Old World–from light and dry Viogniers to award-winning inky Petit Verdots.
It’s time to get out of the bar and into the heart of the new wine country in Northern Virginia. Wine lovers, rejoice, because Virginia will surprise and delight you. Here are some must-visit wineries near Alexandria, about an hour from your luxury apartment in Alexandria.
Best for a Group: Creek’s Edge Winery
This family owned and operated winery is located on the banks of the Catoctin Creek at the very top of VA. Varietals–which include Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon–and 4.5 acres are grown on a 17% grade. (If you’re a bicyclist riding up that hill, your legs are burning.)
Side note for the purists: not all of the grapes are grown there, but wines they produce are solid, and it’s the atmosphere that really sets this place apart. The Amish, old-school hardwood building, with big windows and a hospitable, no-nonsense air, makes you feel like a comfortable grape in a barrel. Wander out to their massive terrace and soak in the verdant view with glass in hand. It’s the weekend detox you’ve been waiting for.
Standout wines: The 2009 Chambourcin–a huge hit–is officially sold out, but their The 2009 Merlot was ranked one of “10 Merlots to Try on the East Coast” by Scoutology. (Yes, it’s OK to be a real wine drinker and have a Merlot.) Another sure bet: the 2012 Chardonnay.
Best for a Romantic Outing: The Barns at Hamilton Station
This isn’t just a cute name for a posh winery–this is an actual barn located in Hamilton, VA. A beautiful renovated one, but a barn nonetheless. This alone could make The Barns a must-visit destination. Couple that with live music, 10 acres of gorgeous grounds, and an entirely unstuffy staff, and you get a winery that’s more laid back than your own living room. It’s no coincidence that plenty of weddings are staged at this romantic Northern Virginia winery–there are plenty of dreamy, nature-filled spots for you and your honey to relax and enjoy a bottle of wine.
Standout wines: Everyone’s talking about the Cabernet Franc.
Best for a Rainy Weekend: Hunters Run Wine Barn
Apparently, barns were really meant to be tasting rooms–and Hunters Run Wine Barn is one of the warmest and coziest of the bunch. It’s definitely smaller, which contributes to the casual-yet-intimate atmosphere, like you’re gathering in a friend’s apartment for wine night. The Irish owner lends the bar a Celtic air, and the mulled cider in the winter drives chill out as well as the roaring fire does. Head to this Hamilton hot spot on a rainy Virginia weekend and stay cozy and entertained with live music.
Standout wines: The port is a surprising contender–but a $5 wine tasting will give you a good idea of what’s on deck.
Best for Bottle-Buyers: Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery
Dry Mills keeps up the barn theme, with a renovated stable tucked into nine rolling acres of land. The vintners (not owners) are quite serious about their wine here, and have created some impressive bottles. But it doesn’t mean they don’t also serve a pretty delectable slushy wine. Sit out at the picnic tables, and enjoy a refreshing 2013 Chambourcin Rose. Oh, and don’t forget to purchase a few bottles. This place may be small, but its wines are mighty.
Standout wines: Can’t go wrong with a Traminette or Chambourcin.
Whether you’re out for a day trip or the weekend, a trip to some of Northern Virginia’s best wineries will relax and rejuvenate you to dive back into the work week–hopefully, with a couple souvenir bottles to tide you over until the next time!
If you’re looking for a new Alexandria luxury apartment to come home to after a weekend of exploring, we’ll set you up. (You bring the wine.)
Other Outstanding VA Wineries: